Techies Go Political
BackBy Brian Summerfield, Senior Editor — August 28, 2006
IT professionals are typically very passionate about particular public issues, but they usually don’t get involved where their own careers are concerned. But as technology has raised its profile in organizations in the past few decades, legislators and bureaucrats at all levels have passed laws and made decisions that have affected the professionals who work in this critical area, for better or worse.
The techies can’t afford to sit out of political battles that can significantly influence their occupations, said Mike Wendy, grassroots outreach media relations manager at CompTIA.
About four years ago, Wendy and other CompTIA personnel began floating ideas around how to get IT professionals more involved in the political process for their own benefit.
One of the key results that came out of this discussion was TechVoice.org, a Web site devoted to informing technology pros on political issues that might affect them, motivating them form educated opinions on those topics and communicating their views to policymakers.
Of course, this is all fairly broad, and Wendy acknowledged TechVoice is still in a trial-and-error phase to determine the best ways in which to achieve those objectives.
“It’s all fairly organic,” he said. “TechVoice is an ongoing and evolving experiment.”
Some of the things TechVoice takes on include promotion of federal grants and loans for professional education and tax breaks for training expenses – essentially, incentives for career development.
Wendy said that as individuals in other trades such as truck driving and hair styling receive funding for their advancement of their skills, so too should technology professionals.
He added, however, that the TechVoice initiative was about more than just getting a slice of the federal pie for IT pros – its core mission is about political education and advocacy.
“There are not a lot of tech force-unique issues on Capital Hill,” he said. “As Congress gets more involved in technical workforce issues, it’s more about seizing opportunities than abating costs.”
For more information, see http://www.techvoice.com.